Catholics vs Santorum, Ctd

Mar 19 2012 @ 11:22am

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What's fascinating to me is that Santorum is the current Vatican's ideal Catholic: daily-mass attending, embedded in elite politics, dedicated to Opus Dei style reactionaryism in the Church, contemptuous of any division between church and state, and dedicated to legislating and governing according to Catholic moral doctrine (with core issues such as universal healthcare and torture and economic justice excised from the relevant debate).

And just as American Catholics overwhelmingly dissent from the Vatican's sexual obsessions and fusion of politics and religion, so they don't even recognize Santorum as one of their own:

Catholics in the exit polls tend to look more like the typical Romney Republican. Catholics are less deeply conservative and less likely to back the Tea Party movement. They have more formal education than non-Catholics and higher incomes, with 74 percent reporting annual household incomes over $50,000, compared with 67 percent of non-Catholics.

Unlike theocon Santorum, American Catholics are secular pluralists in politics:

Only 1 in 5 Catholics on average said it mattered "a great deal" that a candidate share their religious beliefs, compared with one-third of non-Catholics in exit polls that asked the question.

And most instinctively (and rightly) see the manner of Santorum's faith as closer to Christianism than to Catholicism:

Less than half of the Catholic Republicans surveyed knew Santorum's faith, the survey showed, while 11 percent of Catholic Republicans and 35 percent of white evangelical Republicans thought Santorum was an evangelical.

It's worth remembering this when you hear pundits say "the Catholic church" says this or that. What they mean is "the Catholic hierarchy," which in this country is increasingly code for the GOP's evangelical and Randian policies. The last thing it means is American Catholics.

(Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images.)